Tuesday, June 28, 2016

MUSIC FROM THE SWAMPS


Tony Joe White debuted in 1968 with his single “Polk Salad Annie,” and while he’s mostly flown under the radar, he has continued to make music for the nearly fifty years since that debut, releasing some two dozen albums across a host of labels.



His latest, Rain Crow, is another solid outing that blends elements of blues, swamp rock, country,and straight ahead rock and roll. His guitar work is still masterful, although perhaps a little understated on this record. His voice has weathered well, some vocals hover low in the mix like a JJ Cale record. The rhythm section is solid and the production and mix sounds great.








Friday, June 24, 2016

NEW YORK NEW YORK



Dion Francis DiMucci is a legendary American singer-songwriter whose work has incorporated elements of doo-wop, rock and R&B styles and, most recently, straight blues. He was one of the most popular American rock and roll performers of the pre-British Invasion era, with more than a dozen Top 40 hits in the late 1950s and early 60s.

In 1959 Dion gave away his seat on the plane that ended the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.



Throughout his life, Dion has never stopped making music and experimenting with styles, producing bodies of work in later years ranging from an album recorded with Phil Spector to the blues in more recent years. Fast forward to 2016, and Dion is back with a new album, 'New York Is My Home.



After nearly six decades, Dimucci's voice has lost nothing. Working with producer/multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Vivino on 10 new tracks, all but two of them co-written by Dion, the album is strong, although nostalgia makes me want to hear it on a transistor radio.

For those of you too young to know what a transistor radio is…you missed out on the days when music had a soul!



The title track is a love letter to New York City, recorded as a duet with Paul Simon, and it’s the one that's gotten most of the buzz, filled not so much with nostalgic pining as eternal love: for the place, the attitude and and the sense of belonging the city offers.




Other standout tracks nclude the Chuck Berry-esque ''The Apollo King'' (Dion's homage to first hearing saxophonist Big Al Sears), ''Visionary Heart'' (could've been a lost Doc Pomus composition) and his nod to the blues, a take on Lightnin' Hopkins' ''Katie Mae.'



Monday, June 20, 2016

SHE'S SAYING "YES" NOT "MAYBE"


If ever a decade changed everything, it was the ‘60s. The music, the mood, the attitudes … the whole era made such an earthquake-like impact, we still feel its reverberations.

Some still are inspired by it.

In recent decades, groups ranging from Blondie to the Bangles have tapped elements of the 1960s’ “girl group” sound, combining it with assorted modern touches.

One Austin trio have built a groove rooted in that rich time, but don’t think “nostalgia act.”



Both onstage and on their self-titled release, Charlie Faye and the Fayettes craft smart soul-pop that merges the swinging, swaying sound and style of ‘60s girl groups with a modern vibe that’s so current, they’re dancing to the forefront of a retro revival.

With the Fayettes, leader Charlie Faye has found the sonic sweet spot to demonstrate her love of the likes of the Shirelles and the Ronettes with 11 tracks that marry beguiling lyrics with incredibly catchy melodies, paying homage to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.
Delivering upbeat Motown-spiced '60s pop, this is the sort of ear candy that produced hits for the Shangri-Las and the Mermaids.

Faye authored or coauthored all of the album’s teen-dream songs, which are concise (most clock in at two-and-a-half to three minutes), well hooked, and loaded with lines about “cruel hearts,” “playing hard to get to get,” “sweet little messages,” and the like. The vocal harmonies are excellent and employ everything from glockenspiels to saxes to deliver a rich, radio-ready sound.

Album opener “Green Light” could serve as an answer song to the Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love.”

"You’ve got the green light, baby

I’m saying yes, not maybe.

Why are we taking things so slow?”





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Launched on Pledge Music, pledgers got the album in early March. The rest of the world had to wait until June 10.
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Friday, June 17, 2016

GODS WALK AMONG US




The Mute Gods unite Nick Beggs and Roger King (from Steve Hackett’s touring band) with Marco Minnemann (from Steven Wilson's band) into a sidemen super group (of sorts).



Their first album, Do Nothing till You Hear from Me, was written by Beggs while on tour, and he has described it as "a rather disgruntled rant at the dystopia we've created for ourselves and our children." 



The trio has crafted a smooth and sophisticated progressive rock album with touches of alt pop-rock accessibility, smeared with the crafty fingertips of experience. Flawless musicianship, flowing compositions and lush production impress from the outset.




Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me is a very well written and composed album that’s sure to capture and captivate a wide audience and should definitely be heard by prog aficionados.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

26 QUESTIONS AND MORE THAN YOU EVER CARED TO KNOW ABOUT ME

I saw that CW over at Tilting At Windmills was participating in this blog hop and decided to invite myself. 


A word of caution to The Doglady's Den...

See what happens when you leave the door open? Anyone can wander in...



A- Age 54 and counting



B- Biggest fear: Wow…so many…I guess heights



C- Current time: 10:00 am



D- Drink you last had: Barry Crockett Reserve whiskey



E- Every day starts with: Flipping the seat up and taking aim



F- Favourite Song: Parallel Lines by Todd Rundgren



G- Ghosts, are they real?  I don’t believe in them, but am willing to concede to my friends who do believe that ghosts do not present themselves to me because of my close-mindedness



H- Hometown: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia suburbs)



I – In love with:  a memory I can’t put my arms around



J- Jealous of? The arms around the same memory

K- Killed someone?: Not yet, but I am willing to learn



L- Last time you cried?: When my mother died



M- Middle name: Michael



N- Number of siblings: five-four still inhabit this plane of existence



O- One wish: Make it quick



P- Person you last called? A lady friend



Q- Question you’re always asked: Do you listen to all your CD’s? Well I have a lot of them, so not every day.



R- Reason to smile: the cat is sprawled across the desk and purring as I try to type this



S- Sounds that annoy you: my alarm clock, the cat meowing for food



T- Time you woke up: 5:30 am-although this picture makes it look far more allruing than it was-see the answer to letter "E"



U- Underwear colour: white, black, gray



V- Vacation destination:  That I’ve been to-Ireland; Bucket list-Australia



W- Worst habit: perpetual wise ass

X- X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth, right knee, lungs, right arm...I may have had a head xray as a kid....don't remember (too many knocks on the head)



Y- Your favourite food: for a meal, chicken, for dessert-a Tastykake Coconut Junior




Z- Zodiac sign Libra



There you have it.

Like I promised, more than you ever cared to know. Blame CW...if he hadn't participated, I would not even know about the whole exercise.

Monday, June 13, 2016

TAPPED OUT

I know a couple of regular readers of these posts have irreconciliable differences with Amazon, and I understand their position-obviously, this product is not for you.

Recently, I posted about the Amazon Echo device. 

It is a remarkable device, but I closed my post with a comment that if you were just looking for a Bluetooth speaker, Echo might not be for you.

However...now I am here to tell you about the Amazon Tap.



Introduced a couple of months ago, the Tap comes in at a lower price point ($129) which positions it against the Bose Soundlink Color, which it favorably compares in sound quality.

The Tap also includes many of the features of an Echo (voice activation, wi-fi connectivity, Dolby sound) that are absent on the Soundlink.



I had been considering purchasing a second Echo unit. When in the office, I stream music all day, but find that the Amazon Music App for Android is horribly slow.

I mean slow to the point I was considering dumping the service prior to the Echo. It sometimes times out for upwards of an hour, something that never happens with Spotify.

Now my music library far exceeds the norm, which may be the problem-although Amazon should not sell storage space they cannot support.

Has anyone tried Amazon music streaming through an iPhone? Is it any better?

The Echo app works like a dream-I'd missed the Black Friday deal on an Echo ($150) and was biding my time for another sale to meet my music needs in the workplace.

I also have found myself spending a lot of time at a friend's house where there is no stereo or CD player of any kind. I had considered buying a Bose Soundlink.Color to leave there.

Price tag if I bought both items? $266 or so.




Enter the Tap at half that cost. One solution for both locations and more.

Portable, so I can carry it to work or a friend's home, it remembers the wireless connection so it is as easy as saying "Alexa, play Todd Rundgren" to get the music started.

I can play songs from my Amazon library, Amazon Prine, or Spotify, or stream a Pandora station. It can go from my office desk to a conference room at work, or from the living room to the backyard to the bedroom at home.

I can also take it to places without wi-fi but with Sprint coverage and stream via the Bluetooth-not as smooth an option, but an option all the same. You can even plug in directly with an audio cable to play files from your phone or iPad.

In short, this thing is awesome! 

For someone without Amazon Prime, the voice features will not work. If you do not use the premium Spotify service I am not sure if the voice activation works.

Absent both of those features, the unit still works as a Bluetooth speaker, but I'd recommend trying a year of Amazon Prime (it lets you stream video and gives for free shipping for when you buy from Amazon) to really see what the Tap can do.


Note-it looks like Amazon is offering the Tap for $109 for a limited time.

Friday, June 10, 2016

CORPORATE ROCK?



L.A.-based buzz band The Record Company released Give It Back to You earlier this year.



The rock/roots trio of Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals) and Marc Cazorla (drums, piano, vocals) have been hailed by LA Weekly for making bluesy music that would sound more at home in a sweaty, backwoods Mississippi juke joint, while Time Out Los Angeles has described their sound as reminiscent of some of the best acts of the 50s and 60s like if John Lee Hooker and the Stooges had a well-behaved love child.



The comparisons are apt, with influences from early electric blues, blues legends like Hooker, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed, and bands like the Stones and The Stooges.




Wherever it originates, the trio have come up with a fresh take on classic rock 'n' roll that has proven appeal, having developed a reputation as a live act worthy of sharing the stage with such top attractions as B.B. King, Grace Potter, Trombone Shorty, Buddy Guy, Charles Bradley, Robert Randolph, The Wood Brothers, Social Distortion, and Blackberry Smoke. 


Monday, June 6, 2016

SHARK ATTACK




Sean Rowe has turned a lot of heads, a distinctive new singer-songwriter.  

His second ANTI- release, The Salesman and the Shark, is his first with a full recording budget and time to hone his craft, allowing Rowe to deliver the album he has always envisioned.

The arrangements are ambitious-check out how "Horses" channels Desire-era Dylan and the songwriting beautiful- the duet "Old Shoes" finds Rowe harmonizing with Inara George over an almost unbearably lovely melody.



The Salesman and the Shark established Rowe as an artist; at its center is Rowe s astonishing voice, the instrument that has already earned him comparisons to masters from Van Morrison to Leonard Cohen.



The album displays a range of writing styles that showcase Rowe's intensely spiritual interaction with the modern world, and is sure to seal his reputation as a singer and writer for his generation.





Rowe is already working on a follow-up, using the Kickstarter platform to fund it.


Friday, June 3, 2016

CRY FOR HER IF YOU WANT TO




I stumbled across Lesley Gore's 2007 release, Ever Since, while browsing my collection, and could not recall what the album was like. 




The image one gets of Lesley Gore is that of the heartbroken teenager who loved to cry at parties. Well, if that's what you expect from this CD, you're gonna be disappointed.
On this, her final recording before succumbing to lung cancer in 2015, Gore was not a teenager anymore.

With Ever Since, Gore ended a recording hiatus that was close to a quarter century at an age (60 years) when some are considering early retirement. 

Gone was the young girl's plaintive voice, replaced by one that echoes the weariness of a long life having been lived in it's undertones. 




"Ever Since" is a subtle and timeless collection of classic songs, including re-imagined versions of two Lesley Gore standards, 'You Don't Own Me' and the Academy Award nominated 'Out Here On My Own' seamlessly interwoven with new songs that showcase Gore's vocal talents.




Unknown when released, "Ever Since" would be Lesley Gore's final recording. 

It may have been her best work outside of her hit 1960's recordings. Everything was in place, with musicians who complement the arrangements and a vocal performance that touches your heart like an old friend you haven't seen in years suddenly showing up at the door. 

Sadly, rather than a welcome return it was an early good-bye.